Well, today was the end of a chapter of my life. I was initially assessed for the Outpatient DBT programme (at a neighbouring trust) 5 & ½ months into a section 3. I had had numerous and lengthy hospitalisations prior to this one. That assessment was in September 2011. Since then I have been through pre-treatment and the full programme of DBT*. I finished group at the end of June this year. I decided to taper off my individual sessions – first to fortnightly and then monthly. Today was my last DBT check-in session.
As you can see from the picture of part of my discharge letter from the DBT service, I leave the service as officially ‘cured’ of BPD.
When I thought last night about blogging my experiences of my last session, I somehow had envisioned it being enlightening, significant, dramatic in some way. I’m not sure why. It is the end of a chapter of life that has been incredibly draining and hard work but also a chapter of my life that has spawned such positive change and therefore is incredibly significant; it has resulted in me shaking off one of the most stigmatising and disagreeable mental health labels out there (well, by mental professionals that is).
However, the session was one of catching up and calm reflection – I had written a letter to my therapist that was very personal and included the charting of some of the massive changes she has assisted me making in my life as well as the resilience I am now developing for the future. The letter made her cry. I joked earlier on Twitter that it was revenge, finally my time to make her cry but to her it was fulfilment of what she aims to do in life – help people find a way for themselves to create “a life worth living”. Yes, I’ve been challenging to work with but she assured me that it helps her grow and learn as a therapist 🙂 . I’m not going to relate anything further because that would be unfair in the sphere of confidentiality for her (as well as me).
It was a measured discussion with hopes for the future and genuine feeling from both of us of the end of a therapeutic relationship that had many ups and downs. I suppose once again I buck the trend – I’ve never had an issue with abandonment or endings. Yes, a few silent tears were shed by me at the very end but that was it, no borderline stylee clutching of skirts etc 😉
My therapist said that the greatest ‘thank you’ to her is for me to go and continue with a “life worth living”.
I can imagine I will have more thoughts on this in the future but for now – I’m ‘cured’, extremely grateful and ready for the next stage of my life.
*For those of you who are not aware of the DBT programme, it consists of 4 elements – 2 hour group skills session each week, a 1 hour individual therapy session a week, ‘phone coaching (which for me was 7 days a week and ’til 10pm on most of those days) and a therapy team consult each week – the latter not involving the patient being present.